If “Balancing Shoulder Thread-Through Asana” sounds like a mouthful, it is.
…But, you shouldn’t be having mouthfuls while practicing yoga anyway.
In the tradition of the last pose we touched upon, the Knee Balance Pose, this is another balance position that challenges your proprioception—the awareness of where your body is in space.
Without further ado:
1. Kneel evenly, place your left palm on your yoga mat and extend your right arm toward the ceiling.
2. Thread your right arm through beneath your left shoulder. Notice that the left elbow stays bent as shown.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 three times.
4. As you thread through a third time, shift some more of your weight to your right shoulder and raise your left leg, as pictured.
5. As you get a better sense of the distribution of your weight, roll your left hip open and bring your left leg farther back in line with your trunk and rib cage. Obviously, not all the way back, or you’ll place the weight of your body behind you and roll over.
6. Stay for six slow, drawn-out breaths.
7. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: You get a gentle hip, shoulder and side extension, and a different way of perceiving balance.
Avoid if: If you have any shoulders, back or hip issues, please, please skip this pose. It’s not that the pose will do non-beneficial things to them, it’s just that if you roll over and fall hard, you could jar your hip, back or shoulder. At the very least, if you’re going to try it anyway, do it so your back is close to a wall. That way, if you begin to fall to the side, your back can support itself on the wall.
Final thoughts: Whenever I have people practice this in class, I know it has to be a class that’s not packed too tightly… otherwise anyone getting a little ahead of themselves in the balance department can set off what looks like a row of falling dominoes.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: Courtesy of Author